Reporting from Las Vegas — Mike Alvarado was about to become another unbeaten trophy for Colombia's Breidis Prescott when he found a resolve that could make the Denver fighter a champion.
Alvarado (32-0, 23 knockouts) rallied from behind on the judges' scorecards for a 10th-round knockout Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
"My best rounds are always the late rounds," Alvarado said.
This was about as late as it gets.
In the final round of the junior-welterweight bout, Alvarado launched an all-out attack of the tiring Prescott, belting him with two hard rights that forced Prescott to try a desperate hug.
A hard right and left uppercut knocked down Prescott (24-4) with 1 minute 43 seconds left in the bout, but Prescott got back up.
Alvarado, with his mother bellowing "Come in, Mike!" throughout the bout, charged and struck Prescott with two hard rights that caused a flailing Prescott to find his head between the ropes.
Alvardo followed with three more hard right uppercuts, rocking Prescott's head back and prompting referee Jay Nady to stop the fight at the 1:53 mark.
"Late in the fight, [Prescott] was tired, he started leaning forward, and once he did that, I could catch him,' Alvarado said.
Prescott, the only man to defeat junior-welterweight world champion Amir Khan, was the aggressor from the start, out-boxing the brawler Alvarado.
By the fourth round, a Prescott barrage had bloodied Alvarado's face.
Coming off a decision loss to Northern Ireland's Paul McCloskey in September that heightened the stakes Saturday, Prescott took an Alvarado left to the face late in the fourth round and answered with a barrage at the bell.
Alvarado's chin was bleeding badly in the fifth round, and even when his rugged nature would produce a hard right that round, it was Prescott's skill with the jab and fighting inside that proved more impressive.
Prescott started wilting as Alvarado became more aggressive fighting inside in the eighth round, and it forced the Colombian to hug more as fatigue set in.
The pay-per-view portion of the card opened with a 10-round junior-lightweight bout between Tijuana's Juan Carlos Burgos and Puerto Rico's Luis Cruz.
Burgos is the nephew of Victor Burgos, the flyweight who was nearly killed after losing a 2007 title fight to Vic Darchinyan and suffering a blood clot in the brain that put him in a coma.
Alex Camponovo, Burgos' promoter, said Victor has fully recovered and is living in Tijuana.
As for Juan Carlos, he backed up Cruz in the second and third rounds, and had caused the Puerto Rican's right eye to swell by the seventh round, when Burgos ducked a right and unloaded a hard left to Cruz's side.
The only loss for Juan Carlos was a unanimous-decision against Hozumi Hasegawa in November 2010 in Japan for the vacant World Boxing Council featherweight title.
Burgos (28-1, 19 KOs) unloaded two hard lefts in the ninth round against Cruz (19-1, 15 KOs), then eased through the 10th, winning by scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 95-95 to improve to 28-1.
"I was concentrating on getting my rhythm early and to control the pace of the fight," Burgos said. "I gained more confidence every time I would land a left hook. This was an opportunity I could not throw away on such a big stage as a Manny Pacquiao fight."